mercredi 4 janvier 2012

Good Company: Business Success in the Worthiness Era by Laurie Bassi, Ed Frauenheim & Dan McMurrer, with Larry Costello - Book review

Good Company

Business Success in the Worthiness Era

By: Laurie Bassi, Ed Frauenheim, Dan McMurrer, Larry Costello

Published: September 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 264 pages
ISBN-10: 160994061X
ISBN-13: 978-1609940614
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

"The "good" companies show the tremendous power of seeking win-win relationships with all their stakeholders - employees, customers, shareholders, and the communities where they do business. A business ethic of real reciprocity, in other words, reaps rich rewards", write co-authors Laurie Bassi, Ed Frauenheim, Dan McMurrer, and Larry Costello in their groundbreaking and research based book Good Company: Business Success in the Worthiness Era. The authors describe how the being a bad company, with bad treatment of employees, customers, and the wider community, is not a sustainable business model. Instead, the authors provide real world data as compelling evidence that being a good company is both more profitable and more sustainable over the long term.

Laurie Bassi (photo left), Ed Frauenheim, Dan McMurrer, and Larry Costello understand that the bad behavior business model has some remaining support, but that view is changing rapidly. Employees, customers, and society as a whole are demanding that companies demonstrate worth behavior or those businesses will lose their support. A combination of forces including economic, social, and political pressures are forcing companies to reexamine how they manage and operate their business. People are demanding that businesses become good companies, and customers are not fooled any longer by half hearted attempts at social responsibility or green=washing. The era of catering only to shareholder and top executive interests is disappearing, and being replaced by what the authors call the Worthiness Era.

Ed Frauenheim (photo left), Dan McMurrer, Larry Costello, and Laurie Bassi recognize that worthiness involves having a sustainable and ethical business model, and a vision and purpose that extends beyond simply making money. The concept that the sole purpose of a company is to maximize profits is passing into the dustbin of history. The idea of enriching shareholders at the expense of everyone else, including employees, customers, the environment, and the community has been replaced by the more sustainable goal of benefiting all stakeholders. Placing worthiness at the core of their company vision and business model is the new imperative. Worthiness moves beyond a sustainable business plan and a worthy purpose. It must also include being a worthy employer, a worthy seller, and a worthy steward of the environment and the community.

Dan McMurrer (photo left), Larry Costello, Laurie Bassi, and Ed Frauenheim provide real evidence that good companies not only fulfill their worthiness imperatives, but outperform their bad behaving competitors on the stock market as well. The authors created what they call the Good Company Index, which takes systematic examination of Fortune 100 companies' records as employers, sellers, and stewards of the environment, their communities, and the global society. The companies obtained and sustained higher share values than their less worthy competitors in their own industries. The Company Index presents real and tangible proof that worthy and ethical business is profitable business, benefiting a much wider group of stakeholders, as well.

To facilitate deeper understanding of the principles of the worthy company, the authors divide the book into four overall sections:

* The Worthiness Era and what it means
* Evidence and ranking of the company using empirical data
* Good employer, seller and steward, and what these concepts mean
* The future of the Worthiness Era and its vision for the future

Larry Costello (photo left), Laurie Bassi, Ed Frauenheim, and Dan McMurrer offer a very compelling case, complete with strong empirical evidence, that being a worthy company is good business. The power of the book, for me, is how the authors demonstrate how and why companies that observe good employment practices, treat their customers well, and hold a strong ethical commitment to the stewardship of the community and of the planet, are the leaders in their industries now and in the future.

The authors share their important Company Index that ranks each company in comparison to its industry peers, including the methodology used in creating the index itself. The authors add to their position through the addition of real world case studies of worthiness in action. Worthy business is good business, and any business leaders who fail to understand that new reality are destined to fall further and further behind their competition.

I highly recommend the pioneering and must read book Good Company: Business Success in the Worthiness Era by Laurie Bassi, Ed Frauenheim, Dan McMurrer, and Larry Costello, to any business leaders, activists, policy makers and anyone else who values the importance of ethical and worthy business practices. This book proves, with the utmost clarity, that the old slash and burn business paradigm is well past its time. It's replacement will be the vastly superior and more sustainable Worthiness Era.

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